History Of Our
Famous 'Big Chicken'
The Big Chicken.Com
The The Big Chicken was built in 1963 by S.R. "Tubby" Davis
as a method of advertising a restaurant on U.S. 41, a main thoroughfare
through Marietta, Georga.
At seven stories, it was one of tallest structures in Marietta at the time. The Big Chicken quickly became
a landmark for people travelling by car.
Directions were often given, to "turn right at the Big Chicken" or, something was just "one mile from the Big Chicken." Folklore has it that
even airline pilots used it as a navigational landmark.
The 56 feet high structure was designed by an unidentified Georgia Tech
architectural student. It was initially designed to withstand 100 mph
winds, with operating eyes, beak and a comb which moved with any passing
Although the structure was sturdy, the mechanical movements when
the eyes and beak moved created excessive vibration, sometimes to the extent
of breaking windows. At some point the owners did discontinue efforts
to keep the mechanics operating.
The unit was fabricated by Atlantic Steel and erected at the site of
the Johnny Reb's Chick, Chuck and Shake, which was a drive-in chicken
and hamburger restaurant.
In 1966 S.R. Davis sold the restaurant to this brother A.T. Davis who
owned one of the early Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises.
In 1974 Kentucky Fried Chicken (K.F.C.) leased the restaurant which
was one of the highest dollar volume K.F.C. operations until the construction
of I-75 parallel to U.S. 41 relocated the traffic through the area.
In January 1993, heavy winds damaged the Big Chicken with sheet metal
being ripped off of the structure. At the time, K.F.C. voiced concern
over repairing the structure, and after overwhelming public support, not just in Marietta but around the entire metro area, K.F.C.
did repair the structure, and also made the beak and eye mechanics operational.
People were overjoyed that their beloved Big Chicken was saved.
It continues to be a big tourism attraction for Marietta.
In fact, visitors now can purchase the various menu items available at K.F.C.
restaurants and view historic materials, including pieces of the original
structure maintained on display. Also, visitors may now purchase souvenirs
and gifts from the Gift Shop located in the restaurant.
Location: The Big Chicken is located at US 41 and Roswell Street.
The Big Chicken.Com